Controlling Insects & Fungus on Houseplants Indoors
So, you've brought your plants inside for the winter. You look forward to sharing your space with your favorite plants, which will help keep cleaner air in your home and add life to your four walls, but clever garden pests have hitched a ride on your plants. Now they are loving the warm climate with fresh vegetation! Here's what you should do...
- To keep mealybugs and scale under control, try dipping a cotton swab in alcohol and rubbing the infected area. Check especially the joints where leaves join stems.
- To treat spider mites, take your plant to a sink and spray the foliage with water; spider mites don't like being wet. If the infestation is extensive, use insecticidal soap; that's a non-toxic product and safe to use indoors. Make sure you treat the undersides of the leaves too.
- To combat insects such as aphids, spray leaves with water. To combat flying insects like whiteflies, hang sticky traps (sticky yellow paper available at home and garden centers) in an inconspicuous place near your plants.
- As soon as you spot an infested plant, isolate it so the critter population won't spread. Find another spot in the house that offers the same or better conditions and move (and treat) the plant there.
- Remove leaves with fungus problems so the disease won't spread.
- Give your plants what they need in terms of light, soil, moisture and nutrition. A plant that's not under stress from physiological causes is better able to cope with insects.